'It would have never affected Novak Djokovic's training blocks', says expert



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'It would have never affected Novak Djokovic's training blocks', says expert

Holger Rune enjoyed an incredible season finale, ending 2022 in 11th place in the world rankings. The Danish tennis player won the first Masters 1000 of his career by beating Novak Djokovic, 21-time Slam champion, in one of the best finals of the year.

The Copenhagen native also became the first tennis player to beat five top ten players - Hubert Hurkacz, Andrey Rublev, Carlos Alcaraz, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Djokovic - in the same tournament since 1973, excluding the ATP Finals.

"I had many idols growing up. Now that I'm a professional player, I focus on being the best version of myself. Even playing tennis, there are athletes who inspire me – Djokovic is one of them. The Serb is a fantastic tennis player and I try to learn a lot from him: the take from him, the precision of his shots and the fitness of him," Rune explained in an interview with Relevant Tennis.

"Winning in Paris against him was incredible. It has been a dream final against a rival whom I respect a lot for everything he has achieved in the world of tennis. Novak has always been very generous. As I have said before, he is a great inspiration to me.

The big three are very special. I was very happy to see Novak win the ATP Finals in Turin and equal Roger Federer in another statistic." Lastly, Rune referred to the goals he will try to achieve next year. "In December, my coach and I set our goals for the following season.

For us, the ranking is not just a number. We analyze all the tournaments I plan to play. In 2022, I set out to reach the top 25, and I far exceeded it. I'm looking forward to talking to my coach and setting the goals for 2023. I already know what I want.

I have won an ATP 250, I have reached the final of an ATP 500 and I have won a Masters 1000. I think the time has come to win a Grand Slam."

Wilander comments on Djokovic

Speaking to Eurosport about Novak Djokovic's up-and-down year, Mats Wilander said: "Novak has been so close to being allowed to go to the Australian Open and so close to being allowed to go to the US Open, that it would have never affected his training blocks or his practice sessions.

And I think because he wasn't allowed to go, I think obviously physically it might be a tough thing for him to play five sets, seven matches, but he can deal with that. Am I surprised that the younger guys can't hit through him? Sometimes I'm a little surprised, but it's more Novak.

It's insane what he can do in the tennis court with his movement and his defence and most of all, his will to win the 'small matches' to him who is maybe the greatest player of all time. He finds a way to just make it mean everything. I'm so impressed."